Labor Day & the Workaholic

DISCAIMER: This is a long ass post. I sure hope it’s worth the read. Writer (me), cannot be held responsible for winces, sighs, eye rolls or chocolate eating while reading said long ass post, unless reader (you), shares chocolate with writer (me.)

I can’t be 100% certain, but I don’t think I’ve actually written much, if anything, about my propensity toward workaholism. I am already loving the delicacy (slight touch o’bullshit) of this post, as I just mentioned having a “propensity” toward workaholism. Historically, it’s been far more than a propensity, slight leaning or minor tendency. It has been a…headfirst into any brick wall, full-speed ahead, balls out, whole mind, body and spirit, life-sucking activity. Continue reading “Labor Day & the Workaholic”

My House is Crying. I’m Not. I’m in the Light.

I just can’t seem to cry, even though I keep feeling a hefty cry bubbling up inside of me. I’m pretty sure with all of the flooding, my house is crying for me, on my behalf, taking the place of my own tears. Clearly, my house is codependent, evidently in a deep depression and is in dire need of some intensive therapy.

While I am not in a deep depression, it occurred to me very recently, (yesterday), that most of my entire life has changed and though most of the changes are for the better, an enormous cry would do me and those who have to be around me, some good.

I may have to pull out all of the stops, and force myself to watch, “Terms of Endearment,” just to get things moving. I swear, that movie is like Ex-Lax for tears. I’m not even sure if it will break me. It’s like my tears have an ileus blockage.

Our new home’s ongoing flooding issues are ever expanding! It leaks, it whooshes, it trickles, it slices, it dices and even makes julienne fries. It’s a ruthless, over-achieving, flooding perfectionist. And it’s not just one area, or one level of the house. It’s here, there and everywhere. On the upside, the sound of trickling water is very relaxing. Also, it enhances your need to go pee-pee, so that can be helpful with water retention.

I am trying to stay positive and chipper, but all of this water in the house, at intermittent and unpredictable times, has jarred me. I’m downright pickled and feel like I’m in a pickle.

All of these issues have not been fixed, nor do I think anyone can figure out why it’s happening. Ted, my new best friend and plumber, is diligent about communicating everything he possibly can to me. Of course, I can’t actually understand anything Ted says with his extremely thick accent, but I do know for sure that he…

Haas kool on trock and sine and vatah ting in doh mahs-targe, so no bott on ya ne frah-men ja nvyente.

It was good to know that important info from Ted, but what about my flooding problems? I wish to God we had “Schneider” from “One Day at a Time.” I mean, I’m sort of like an Ann Romano type, but with kreplach and matzo balls instead of lasagna and antipasti.

Even without “Schneider,” my daughters and I continue to function fairly well under these tricky circumstances, but the combination of a flooding new house, new schools, new professional endeavors, and a whole new community have finally started to have a definable impact on me. I am tired as hell.

I don’t miss the city at all, which surprises me. What surprises me even more is that I don’t miss our previous home. I do miss my Peeps, but I also know that I’m not very far away from them, even though some of my buddies think I’ve moved one country further from them, than Yemen. (Or as my friend Kristen says, “Where Jesus left his sandals.”)

Just lately, I have felt a need to decompress a bit and actually relax, which is not one of my strong-points. Decompression for me, a single mom, is to get a bunch of things done for the kids, for the house, to try and be of service to others, grocery shop and buy a bunch of things that aren’t on my list, as I forget the essential items actually on my list, and to figure out all of my next career steps in approximately 18.3 minutes. Ridiculous, I know. Not to mention the fact that I so rarely remember where I’ve parked at the grocery store, or any store for that matter.

So, rather than my typical and ludicrous manner of decompressing, I decided to shmy around some unfamiliar territory. I headed to Lowe’s to look at lamps. I enjoyed my time there, was impressed by all of the burly men and things called, “tools,” which I knew nothing about. While I did not purchase any lamps, I was extremely interested in the blow up, 50-foot, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I actually thought to myself, “Surely this is in my budget! I need this. Where can I put this? Can the water from the house leak into this guy?”

After Lowe’s I picked up my daughters and we were off to Home Depot, in hopes that we could find some lamps at a reasonable price-point.  Our new home is much darker than our sunny high-rise apartment we used to live in, and I will always insist that we do whatever we can to stay in the light.

While we were shopping at Home Depot, I could hear my Mom’s voice… “You don’t need those lava lamps or those colored ball lamps.” No wait. It was my voice and not my Mom’s voice, but I was pretending to myself it was my Mom’s voice, so I wouldn’t seem so hard on myself.

We left with a lot of lamps. More than we needed, or was it? We had practical lamps, two lava lamps, two colored ball lamps, something called “The Party Bulb,” and multi-colored light bulbs. I believe in that moment and even now, we needed all of it. If I’d had more money, we’d have left with 18 disco balls and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

While we ate a dinner fit for someone without taste-buds, we laughed until we cried, I kept thinking about the water we’re living with, and the light we choose to remain living in.

I’ve made a choice to extend and challenge myself more logistically, because I know it’s far better for my children. This isn’t martyrdom, it’s responsible parenting. And while we all love it here, even with the leaking issues and the distance from the city, there is no question that I have to acknowledge the impact of these changes. I am feeling single motherhood like I’ve never felt it before. I’m sure my daughters’ father has also felt the enormity of this shift.

I would make this decision again in a heartbeat, even knowing that this house is leaky and I will have the kids full time just about all of the time. I know I’m blessed to have these privileges, but I also know that it is essential that I don’t lose my balance and then get lost myself. I’ve seen that happen to me with work and other things, so I’m keeping a watchful, dry eye on it.

I think that real balance and contentedness will begin once I have a really good cry.

I can’t wait for the kids to go to bed, so I can grab some popcorn and watch a “tear jerker.” It’s time for me to honor and take care of this need that seems so obvious to me.

Of course, I also think I would benefit immensely from purchasing a gigantic, inflatable, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, so it’s best for me to proceed with caution, but while I proceed with caution, tears or no tears, I will continue to choose to remain in the light.

No matter what.

Of course, first, I have to clean up the newest flood in my basement, but I will end with the fact that in addition to the flood I have to clean up now, I am very close to being almost moved to tears.

Almost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman Found in Lost & Found

This post might stink. I just have to write. My daughters and I moved a few days ago. Here’s the thing — SO MUCH went wrong. I mean, if I gave you a narrative of all that has transpired in the past several days, you’d respond, “Pam, please get more therapy for your inane exaggeration.” There is so much to tell, I won’t even tell it here for fear of making this post way too long.

Over the past several days of complete chaos, error, breakage and money sucking, I have found myself exhausted, but really happy and comfy in my acne-filled skin. I am so surprised by my own reactions to snafus, I can hardly believe it myself.

Now, to be fair and brutally honest, my kids have said to me a few times over the last few days, “Mom, calm down.” I actually feel pretty calm and am behaving as such, so my daughters have realized they have to invent new exclamations and rebuttals.

As we toured my eldest daughter’s middle school this week, all three of us, (me and my kids) were struck by the fact that no one is left out in the fray. Emotional well-being is more important than test scores and academics. The school’s philosophy is, that if a child is comfortable and feels safe, their academic performance improves. I am so grateful for this school district and its attention and care for the kids, it has made me teary eyed a few times.

To kick off this week, in addition to a move and all that goes with it, my youngest daughter had an unexpected biopsy for a suspicious mole on her arm. I know this is “no big deal,” but it’s hard to rest until I hear the words, “It’s benign.” I had noticed this mole changing on her arm over the last few months, so I am grateful our incredible dermatologist noticed the change as well and took action. My nine year old was as brave as brave can be.

I have never written about my own experience with melanoma, and don’t feel like writing all that much about it now. Suffice it to say that I am more aware of moles than the average person, I have never been the same since I heard my doctor say, “cancer,” and that isn’t a bad thing, and I never felt more lost and then, found, as a woman. The whole experience was the start of an extremely enlightening several years.

I have had other issues since my melanoma diagnosis in the fall of 2013. Still, the most challenging moment of all, was the moment I sat in an icky medical supply store and was being fitted for compression stockings. I remember being surrounded by old men who looked like they might be named, “Shlomo, Harvey and Max,” and I also remember that the woman who was assisting everyone smoked cigarettes in the store. I thought I was in hell.

Due to the loss of my lymph nodes at my groin, I developed horrible and debilitating lymphedema and had to be fitted for compression hosiery for my left leg. (Through good health practices, it’s 98% improved from what it once was.) As I sat there at the medical supply place, totally depressed, I was offered a choice of white or nude medical compression hosiery, all I could think was, “My God. I am never going to have sex again. I’m never going to want to. Not ever.” I also had one of the most important ideas of my entire life.

I was totally lost in that medical supply store. Cancer, lymphedema and other hardships found me. For a moment, or two, I questioned everything, and then, I began questioning virtually nothing.

I would not change all that has happened, because I wouldn’t be here today without walking through and not around shit.

Since having cancer, I have done and experienced many great things. Gifts, really.

So now, I’m waiting for my daughter’s biopsy results. I’m looking at my phone somewhat obsessively in hopes that I will hear before the end of this work week. I know I can’t control this, and I know foxhole prayers are bullshit, but truth be told, I’m praying my ass off.

I need focus to dive into a workshop/facilitation project early next week, and like always, I will bring all that I have been and am to it, so I can find out where everyone has been, where they are and where we might all venture together.

Tonight, I am speaking to a crowd about problem solving. I haven’t prepared anything, but I have had plenty of training this week and before this week. In many instances, I solve problems by simply accepting that there isn’t a thing I can do about it and by moving on. This frees me up to solve the actual problems that can be solved.

I think it’s true that we never really get more than we can handle. And while I type this, the Rolling Stones just happen to be singing, “You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need…”

There are no mistakes, I think.

I’m grateful to be found in this very moment.